Florida Is Moving Closer To Repealing The No-Fault Insurance System (SB 54)
When it comes to motor vehicle insurance, Florida has been a no-fault state for 50 years now. However, the law has been controversial since its inception. Over the years, opponents of Florida’s no-fault law have been trying to repeal the law, but to no avail.
Some of the people that support Florida’s no-fault motor vehicle insurance law maintain that the law is effective since it helps balance against high healthcare costs and provides much-needed coverage to accident victims. On the other hand, some opponents of Florida’s no-fault motor vehicle insurance law believe that the law is inadequate and rife with fraud.
After years of trying, it now seems as though Florida is driving towards repealing the motor vehicle no-fault law. SB 54 is close to replacing the no-fault law. The Senate bill is the Senate equivalent of the amended bill, HB 719, that seeks to eliminate the no-fault law. SB 54 passed the Senate by a near-unanimous vote of 38-1 in early April 2021. If SB 54 passes, Floridians will no longer be required to purchase PIP. Instead, Floridians will need to have mandatory bodily injury (MBI) coverage.
Individuals supporting the proposed bill seem to believe that SB 54 will weed out fraud, while those that don’t support the proposed bill feel that it will do nothing to help with weeding out fraud. Opponents of the proposed bill claim that SB 54 will raise rates for Florida motorists, while supporters of SB 54 believe the law will lower rates for Florida drivers. Insurance industries are among those arguing that the new law could drive up costs for Florida drivers. Opponents of the proposed bill also feel that the proposed bill might end up putting more people on the road without coverage.
Clearly, there is still no consensus as to whether passing the bill is a good idea. Nonetheless, as you wait to see if the bill passes, it would be best for you to understand what SB 54 would require of you.
Understanding the Current PIP (No-Fault) Law
Currently, Florida uses a system known as the no-fault or PIP system. Under this system, Florida motorists need to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection.
As a motorist with PIP coverage, you are required to turn to your insurance company for compensation in the event of an auto accident. With PIP, a motorist can obtain compensation from their insurance company regardless of fault.
Senate Bill 54
Just like PIP coverage, the proposed bill has minimum liability requirements. If SB 54 passes, Florida motorists will need to maintain insurance coverage that meets the following requirements.
- For bodily injury or death of one individual, a motorist would need a minimum of $25,000 in coverage.
- For bodily injury or death of more than one person, a motorist would need a minimum of $50,000.
- A motorist would also be required to have $5,000 in Med-Pay coverage.
The $10,000 responsibility requirement for property damage (Property Damage Liability/PDL) that currently exists will still exist even after SB 54 passes.
Differences Between the Current No-Fault Law and the Proposed SB 54
If SB 54 passes, Florida motorists will need to carry mandatory bodily injury coverage instead of mandatory personal injury protection. Whereas PIP covers the injuries that you sustain in an accident, bodily injury protection covers another party’s injuries if you are responsible for their injuries.
If MBI coverage takes over, the no-fault portion of auto accidents will cease to exist. MBI coverage does not pay until the fault is determined. Such an aspect can leave accident victims struggling to cater to their expenses as they wait for the fault to be determined.
SB 54 will also eliminate the limitations currently in place regarding recovering compensation for pain and suffering. Right now, an individual can only receive compensation for pain and suffering if they sustained significant and long-lasting injuries in an accident or if an accident caused the death of a loved one. SB 54 will eliminate these limitations.
Every Florida motorist should be concerned about the proposed bill, SB 54, because the bill is bound to affect motorists in one way or another if it becomes a law. There is a lot more you need to know about the proposed bill, so ensure you reach out to an expert to learn more about SB 54.
Contact a Qualified Naples Personal Injury Attorney for Help
Even if SB 54 repeals the no-fault system, we as personal injury attorneys will continue to fight for clients’ rights. The Naples personal injury lawyers at The Law Offices of Marc L. Shapiro, P.A. will continue working hard to ensure that clients receive fair compensation from their claims. For more information on the proposed bill or to receive help with your personal injury case, contact our office at 239-649-8050 today.